It’s true what they say about opening a bank account and getting a phone plan in France. It is a bit of a challenge…different country, different rules. But once you get past the hurdles, it feels like a big victory.
My main priority when I arrived was to get my phone working. I need a phone!!! I did research online trying to figure out how I was going to get a working phone abroad. I have my service back in the states, but there was no way, I was going to pay the ridiculous international rates. I didn’t want to lose my U.S. phone number so I disconnected my service plan for three months. I’ll pay about 10 bucks per month to keep the phone number but the line is disconnected. The phone number can be reconnected at any time or I can keep my number disconnected. It all depends on the length of travel and schedule. I would suggest calling your U.S. phone provider and asking what your options are.
Here’s the thing about sim cards and iPhones. My iPhone has an American sim card with my American phone number and it’s an unlocked phone, which is a good thing. It’s my understanding that a majority of iPhones; especially, the newer ones are unlocked. I can take out my American sim card from my iPhone (if you take out the sim card, DON’T LOSE IT! Keep it somewhere safe) and put in a French sim card with a French phone number.
If you’re traveling through Europe for some time, you can switch out your sim cards depending on which country you are in. Way cheaper option when traveling on a budget! For thirty bucks you buy a prepaid plan and get unlimited calls and text about 10GB of data which can last about a month. Since I was planning on staying for a while, the other option was getting a phone plan. The phone plans in France are so cheap! Your monthly payments are about 10 – 20 euros per month!! That’s insane! I asked what I needed to open a phone plan, my passport, an electric bill of where I was living and a bank account.
I had one out of the three, my passport. Well, that wasn’t going to work. Ok – let’s get a bank account first and then work from there. That same day, I
visited French banks to see what they had to offer and what made the most sense for my plan. What I got from the experience was, they all ask for different paperwork.
1) Patience is the name of the game.
2) Come prepared with your paperwork. If you don’t’ think you’ll need it, take it anyways.
3) The person I needed to speak with was always out of the office, and they’re the only person that can help you! You might be making a couple of trips back and forth to catch them.
4) It’s going to be a learning experience, but once it’s completed, it feels like a sense of accomplishment!
It’s been a journey so far trying to navigate in a new coutnry. It’s the little things or the everyday things which we forget can turn into challanges.